Call comes as Palestinian human stabs Israeli security guard following Donald Trumps announcement about Jerusalem
Emmanuel Macron, the French chairman, has warned US recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital was a” threat to peace” as he hosted the country’s “ministers “, Benjamin Netanyahu, on his first foreign trip since Donald Trump provoked widespread censure with the decision.
The joint appearance by the two men, following talks in Paris, came as tear gas was used to disperse protesters outside the US embassy in Beirut and a Palestinian human stabbed an Israeli security guard at Jerusalem’s central bus station in the first assault in the city since Trump’s announcement.
Palestinian media identified the assailant as 24 -year-old Yasin Abu al-Qur’a from a village near Nablus in the northern West Bank, who reportedly posted on Facebook hours earlier mentioning Jerusalem. Police described as a terrorist attack.
Trump last week declared the US would recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, violating the international consensus on one of the most sensitive issues in relations between Israel and the Palestinians – who wish the capital of a future Palestinian nation to be in the east of the city.
Macron said he had told Netanyahu that Trump’s statement on Jerusalem” is a threat to peace and we are against it” and suggested that an Israeli freeze on settlement house would be an important gesture, proving Israel was committed to peace.
In uncompromising remarks unlikely to calm the ongoing crisis, Netanyahu replied by saying that the sooner Palestinians recognised the reality that Jerusalem was Israel’s capital, the sooner there would be peace.
He also lashed out at the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying he would not” take lecturings” from someone who bombs Kurdish villages, supportings Iran and “terrorists” in Gaza.
Several rockets were fird from the Gaza Strip toward Israel on Thursday and Friday following Trump’s declaration, resulting Israel to respond with airstrikes that killed two people.
Macron has been resulting European criticism of the US decision and rang Trump before his announcement to alert him of the likely damaging outcomes for the Palestinian peace process. Before Netanyahu’s visit, he and Erdogan spoke by telephone about a joint diplomatic approach to try to persuade the US to row back on Jerusalem.
He began his pre-prepared remarks alongside Netanyahu with a clear disapproval” of all forms of attacks in the last hours and days against Israel .”
Graphic footage of the incident in Jerusalem demonstrated the attacker calmly handing his coat to the security guard before abruptly plunging a large knife into the guard’s chest. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the guard sustained a serious meander to his upper body and the attacker was apprehended.
In Beirut, meanwhile, Lebanese security force broke up a protest outside the heavily guarded US embassy with teargas after demonstrators pelted them with stones.
Protesters, some of them waving Palestinian flags, lit flames in the street and threw objects at members of the security forces who had barricaded the main road to the embassy.
Addressing the protesters, the head of the Lebanese Communist party, Hanna Gharib, declared Washington” the enemy of Palestine” and said the embassy was ” a emblem of imperialist aggressivenes” that must be closed.
Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, defended Trump’s decision saying it reflected his appreciation for such facts on the ground and – without devoting details – that it would advance peace talks.
” You’ve got the parliament, the president, the cabinet of ministers, the supreme court, so why shouldn’t we have the embassy there ?” she told CBS.
” When you recognise the truth, when both parties recognise reality, peace comes. We are living in the reality that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel .”
She said US allies in the Middle East are the most worried about Iran’s growing influence in the region, where Washington was ” in lockstep” with them.
The US president’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital has nevertheless infuriated the Arab world and upset western friends, who say it is a blow to peace efforts and dangers causing further unrest.
The Vatican on Sunday said Pope Francis was praying so that” leaders of nations” commit themselves to work to” forestalls a new spiraling of violence” over Jerusalem. Its statement reiterated the Vatican position on” the essential need for respecting the status quo “.
Most countries consider East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed after capturing it in 1967, to be occupied territory. They say the status of the city should be left to be decided at future Israeli-Palestinian talks.
Netanyahu is on Monday due in Brussels where he will fulfill the EU foreign policy chief, Frederica Mogherini, and hold a working breakfast with 27 EU foreign ministers. Before he left Israel for Europe he was critical of EU leaders, who have also condemned the building of Israeli settlements in West Bank.
” While I respect Europe, I am not prepared to accept a doubled criterion from it ,” Netanyahu said on Saturday evening.” I hear voices from there condemning President Trump’s historic statement, but I have not heard condemnations of the rockets fired at Israel or the terrible incitement against it. I am not prepared to accept this hypocrisy .”
Arab League foreign ministers met for hours on Saturday to denounce the US decision as illegitimate and unlawful, but appeared to have held back from taking any new measures.
The Arab League chief, Ahmed Abul Gheit, said Trump’s decision was ” against international law and raises questions over American efforts to support peace” between Palestine and Israel.
The shift in US policy undermined Arab confidence in the Trump administration and amounted to the legalisation of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, he added.
The pastors reiterated that such a move had no legal impact and was void, adding:” it deepens tension, kindles anger and threatens to plunge region into more violence and chaos .”
The ministers agreed to” demand that the United States rescind its decision on Jerusalem … and the calling on the international community to recognise the state of Palestine … with east Jerusalem as its capital ,” said the statement.
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